Showing up is half the work, which is half true in itself. Because without a rhythm to your showing up, the act of showing up gets harder and harder.
Bit of a confusing sentence right ? Everything in life moves according to a rhythm , breathing is a rhythm , the sunrise a rhythm, you move in a certain rhythm.
So in order to become good at anything, working on that skill needs a rhythm. And in order for a rhythm to become a rhythm, planning it is necessary. Even for people who hate planning. Mostly it is not the planning people hate. But the showing up. Planning something leaves a lot of room for perceived failure, and that feeling is what you want to avoid. Postponing any activity feels bad. Especially an activity you want to be good at, have a passion for. Dream of doing.
So we don’t plan, and set ourselves up for failure. Not failure in a sense that we are bad at the very thing we want to be good at. But failing because we never got started.
So how do we plan ?
People tend not to plan activities, but cram the day as full as possible, doing as much as possible. And call it planning. That’s the opposite of planning. Planning needs room, breathing room. As a person you will not be at your best all the time. Most of the time, how you feel and how your energy flows depends on a lot of things you can’t control. Cramming your days as full as possible leaves more room for external factors sucking your attention and energy away.
The first step, set one new goal
There is a lot things that can be said for having multiple goals, but as we plan for the first time, in a new way, we forget we already have goals in our life. Maybe not goals defined as goals. But time is being consumed. You have your personal life, work, and maybe already a sport or other physical activity you do. All of these things already have a place in your diary and a rhythm to them.
So think of one new thing you want to master, be good at, improve your skills on. For me that is making music. Which always lingered in the distance and I defined it as a hobby, but never put in a consistent amount of time and work. Yet I loved doing it whenever I got around to it. So think about that one thing. Your passion as it is commonly defined.
Write this down as your focus point for planning.
The second step, measure your real time consumption.
Keep a diary and measure how long every activity in your agenda really took versus how much you planned for it. And make notes on what kind of taks it was. Household shores are tasks you will have to do. And never plan enough time for. Also make notes of how all activities outside of the obligatory ones contribute to your new goal. Be honest.
You don’t plan the binging of this new series on Netflix or any other subscription thing. Note the hours, also make note of how many hours you spent on social media not doing anything towards your goal.
Make detailed notes, how you feel, if you where happy at the end of the day, how energized you felt at the beginning and at the end. Do all this for 2 weeks.
The third step, deleting activities and compressing time slots.
Now its time to start deleting all those excess activities and limit time spent on things, its ok to wind down with social media, watch some tv at the end of the day. But limit the hours you put into those things.
Household shores need doing, get the notes out and see if you planned these realistically or did they consume more time ? Allocate time appropriatly.
Also, plan ahead, do the groceries with a list you made earlier, plan making the list. And so on.
Delete any activities that drifted you away from your new goal, and are not absolutely necessary. Combining these 3 should make room for spending at least a couple of hours on the new goal. Make sure you plan these new activities at least 3 times a week, in order to get that all important rhythm.
Last but not least, plan leisure time. Grab that book, watch that movie, go hang out with friends, do date night , do nothing. Leave room for doing nothing. Plan rest! Really resting is very important, just sitting or lying down. Doesn’t have to take long.
Plan days or longer with no plans at all, play in those days. Do whatever you feel like. Be a kid again. This is a great way for experimenting without limits and ingraining new paths of thinking into your subconsciousness.
Make sure rest and recovery are done in between the ‘harder’ activities that take up a lot of energy. All tasks with a high level of concentration can only be done for so many hours a day. Science has it marked down to four a day, if you are practiced. I will do a separate blog on focussed work. But don’t overdo it on complicated tasks. Especially in the beginning.
So we now know what we want to achieve. We have the goal. We measured our activities. We know the realities of executing all tasks in a week. We downsized on the amount of activities and limited our time we spend per activity.
We booked in time for rest and recharging. So what’s next, make a default planning for the week, set a fixed day for doing the planning for next week, lets say Saturday evening. Execute the planning, and keep a diary om the progress.
Next week I will dive into the structure of planning and how to build up a routine.